Five Ways to Make a Friend – Gillian Cross

Stars: *****

I absolutely loved this short story; it was filled with empathy, compassion and emotion which created the perfect message about friendship. It’s full of fantastic illustrations by Sarah Horne too, which capture the essence of the characters and really helps bring the story to life.

Sarah Horne

When Ella moves to a new school she is desperate to make a friend to feel like she belongs. She tries to be friends with the girls in her class, but it isn’t easy being the new girl. In the library at lunch, she discovers a book titled: ‘Five Ways to Make a Friend’.

It’s full of (you guessed it!) five tips which Ella is sure will bag her a friend. But it doesn’t turn out quite how she expected it to…

I loved following Ella’s journey and think it’s a valuable story for children to hear. But what inspired Gillian to write the story? Let’s find out…

Gillian Cross

Q: What inspired you to write the story?

A: Friends are very important to me. So when I thought of Ella, going to a new school, I knew she wouldn’t be really happy there unless she made a friend. I started wondering what she could do to make that happen. (And I love writing books where plans keep going wrong!)


Q: Does Ella remind you of anyone you know?

A: I never base stories on real people I know. If I did, I would keep worrying about upsetting them. But I’m always making plans and sometimes I don’t notice things that are right in front of me. So maybe Ella is a bit like me…


Q: What, to you, is the most important characteristic of being a friend?

A: Loyalty. It’s important to be able to trust your friends.

Q: If you could give children one piece of advice about friendship, what would it be?

A: A good friend is a real treasure. If you change schools, or move, stay in touch with your friends.

(I completely agree with this advice! Good friends are so valuable.)

Q: Ella wants to find a new hobby. What hobbies do you have?

A: I go orienteering and walking; sometimes I play the piano (very badly); I love knitting, and making things; and I READ. Lots. All kinds of books.

Q: What’s the best piece of origami you can make, or best cake you can bake?

A: I’m quite good at following origami instructions, but I can’t make anything from memory, except ships and planes and little boxes. But I make a delicious clementine cake!

Q: I have to ask – being a huge fan of the series – would you ever consider writing a new Demon Headmaster?

A: I might. I’ve got a sort of idea at the moment and I’m waiting to see if it turns into a book…

(I SO HOPE THIS HAPPENS!)

*Review Copy 😊*

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